A common flaw in the interview process is focusing primarily on what you want, which applies to both the interviewer and the interviewee. Intuitively, you would expect the person interviewing for a job approach to “sell” the potential employer on why they should be hired, but the conversation can often center more on what can they do for me. Likewise, it is more common for an employer to focus almost entirely on whether this candidate is the right person for the position. Either way, you may miss an opportunity because you don’t address what’s important to the other side.

A critical component to a successful interview is to do your homework on the what the other party desires before-hand, if possible. This is undoubtedly easier for the interviewee if there is a job description, but both sides can and should explore what the other side desires in the interview and try to address those areas. For an interviewer, this may be simply asking why the person is interested in the opportunity and then specifically address the components of the job that would appeal to the interviewee. For the interviewee, there may be a template for the job in the form of a position description, but undoubtedly there are some areas that may matter more, and it often does not cover more subjective topics like working relationships, management style, etc.

Although a tight labor or job market may make it more critical to understand the needs and desires of the other side of an interview, it really shouldn’t matter when both sides want to find the best possible fit. Spending adequate time addressing what is important to the other side can land the desired candidate or the perfect job.